A recent study suggests that using cannabis may lead to an alteration in the sperm’s gene for autism. The journal Epigenetics has published this study. And it states that cannabis can bring about changes in the DLGAP2 gene in men’s sperm.
The results of the study have shown that changes in this gene take place by a process known as DNA methylation. And it has the potential to pass on to the next generation.
Using cannabis can bring changes in the methylation of DLGAP2 gene
Nowadays, many countries have legalized the use of recreational and medical cannabis. But the use of cannabis in parents may affect the nervous system of the offspring and cause conditions like autism. The fathers who use cannabis may be using them for two.
This study includes 24 men and 15 rats. And it highlights the ability of marijuana to affect the next generation. The research team has detected a significant hypomethylation at the DLGAP2 gene in the sperm of men who have used cannabis compared to the non-users.
The finding was similar in the case of mice exposed to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). The rats born to fathers subjected to THC also had this hypomethylated state in their forebrain. These results may provide little evidence that cannabis can lead to an alteration in the sperm’s gene for autism.
The research team has stated that these results do not define an obvious relation between the use of cannabis and autism. But still, this possible link stresses the need for further study. The team has used quantitative bisulfite pyrosequencing to validate the differential methylation in the DLGAP2 gene for the nine CpG sites in intron seven.
The DNA methylation at the DLGAP2 gene was present in the sperms of male rats exposed to THC. Moreover, the accumbens nucleus of their offspring has also shown the presence of methylation.
DNA methylation can cause a reduction in the expression of DLGAP2
In an earlier study, the research team found many changes in the gene of men’s sperm who smoked marijuana. On the contrary, this recent study has focused on specific genes, especially DLGAP2.
DLGAP2 means Discs-Large Associated Protein 2. DLGAP2 is a gene implicated in autism. And it is involved in neural signaling and the organization of synapse. Besides its link with autism, this gene is also related to PTSD and schizophrenia.
Other discoveries from this study involve a sex-based difference in the link between DNA methylation and gene activity in human brain tissues. In both sexes, there was a decrease in gene activity with an increase in DNA methylation.
But this link was strongest in females, and less maintained in males. At present, the exact reason for this difference is unknown. This variance in both sexes was significant, as the ratio of boys to girls with autism is 4:1.
The association between methylation and the expression of gene changes if the methylation change is passed along to offspring. But the fact that DLGAP2 gene in sperm is functionally important in the brain is clear, in any event. This is the first study that has shown the relation between cannabis use in men and autism in offspring.
It indicates that use the cannabis may lead to an alteration in the sperm’s gene for autism. But due to the small sample size (24 men), this study hasn’t accounted for the confounding factors. And still, these factors like sleep, diet, and physical activity may affect the study results.
Does Cannabis Affect Your Brain?
Cannabis has a lot of effects on human body-positive and negative too. Science is focusing on the unrevealed face of marijuana. There are immense benefits of medical marijuana use but recreational use can ultimately lead to addiction and then the adverse effects can come into notice. According to the pieces of evidence, it seems that cannabis may have benign effects on the structure of the brain and not producing lethal damage. Cannabis abuse is a very common problem worldwide. With the on-going pandemic situation, the usage of cannabis has increased. More dispensaries are opening up and the stock is also rising. These days cannabis is the most common drug of abuse.
Cannabis and schizophrenia
The relationship of cannabis with schizophrenia and the effects of smoking marijuana are evident. The changes in the brain could lead to psychosis. According to recent findings the heavy use of cannabis results in some adverse consequences like the occurrence of acute psychotic episodes and the development of severe schizophrenia in people. After terminating the use of cannabis episodes of schizophrenia are seen. The recent studies have proven to show a controversy about heavy usage of cannabis whether it can cause irreversible brain damage. In addition to this, a controversy has arisen about the use of cannabis resulting in a chronic psychosis due to the alteration in the brain caused by cannabis.
Experimentation on Rats
An experiment was performed on rats which provided enough evidence that exposure to marijuana can result in long-term or permanent adverse alteration in the brain. During the experiment, the rats were exposed to THC before their birth. Soon after birth or during adolescence different problems and notable issues with specific learning and memory tasks came into evidence. Exposure to THC is interlinking with the structural and functional change changes in the hippocampus.
Effect of marijuana on the brain
If you imagine the impact of marijuana on brain structure in humans so it shows conflicting analysis. Few studies suggest that using marijuana daily can alter connectivity and reduce the volume of specific regions of the brain. These regions of brain are involved in functions like memory, learning, and impulse control. Other studies suggest that there are no significant structural differences in the brains of people who don’t use drugs. The use of marijuana resulting in the impairment and alteration of the drugs is highly dependent on the age when a person began using marijuana.
In addition to this the age and the time duration for which the person has been using also matters. Some studies also suggest the decline in IQ is link with the use of marijuana especially when they start using it in adolescence. On the contrary, not all studies show the same evidence. Few studies suggest that using cannabis does not affect IQ level. Along with using cannabis multiple factors come into play in lowering the IQ level like genetics, age of use, frequency of use, duration of use, and environment.
THC, a Major Component of Weed
The major psychoactive ingredient, THC stimulates the part of your brain that responds to pleasure, food, and sex. This triggers the chemical, dopamine which leads you towards a euphoric and relaxed feeling. Vaping, smoking, drinking, and eating weed may leave you in different states. It may leave you afraid, anxious, and panicked. Also if you have any mental health conditions it might worsen. It can also drive you towards the use of clinical depression.
Abuse of Marijuana Leads to Suicide Attempts and Self-Harm
Recreational use of cannabis can result in addiction. One, two, three, and if the puffs are never-ending and controllable then they may bring you a lot of harm. Usage of cannabis by teens and adults is leading to disorders such as mood swings which are highly connected with self-harm and suicide attempts.
According to the latest research, the high potency of weed raises the risk of anxiety and addiction. The three most important factors contributing to death are overdosage, suicide, and homicide.
Two Sides of Marijuana
The usage of marijuana has two sides. It provides relief from chronic pain and increases appetite that proves to be very useful in case of cancer. On the other hand, one perception is that cannabis is safe to use. We need to educate parents and kids about the risks that are interlinked with the heavy use of cannabis.
Fontanella states that clinicians need to intervene to identify and treat cannabis use disorder as well as kids with mood disorders.
ALSO READ: Two Faces of Marijuana
Disorder by Cannabis Usage
The dependence on the use of weed causes cannabis use disorder. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse a person who is dependent on cannabis when they feel a lack of appetite, restlessness, and sleep difficulties after quitting. NIDA advises that people who begin to use cannabis before the age of 18 are more likely to develop marijuana disorders than adults. According to research back in 2015, it was estimated that 4 million people are likely to suffer from this disorder.
Studies Reveal Bitter Facts
Experts expect that the number will grow due to a rise in varieties of weeds and due to the legalization of marijuana in several states of the USA. Also, studies have revealed that there is a strong relationship between the uncontrollable use of cannabis and suicide attempts and death.
A study discloses the fact that twins adults of the same sex had the urge to commit suicide because of the dependence on marijuana. The ones who were dependent on marijuana were three times more likely to attempt suicide.
In addition to this, another study portrays that 1463 suicides and 7392 natural deaths reported in the USA have a link in between. There is an increased risk of suicide for adults of any sex who are dependent on marijuana.
Who is more likely to abuse?
According to studies children with mood disorders have a very high chance of using and abusing marijuana. Mood stabilizers and psychotic medications can cause weight gain of up to many pounds. People in such cases try to self-medicate with cannabis to treat mood disorders. Research shows that the use of cannabis has an association with the early onset of mood disorder. This leads to the onset of severe mental illness. Whether you use it legally or illegally there is a very high chance of getting dependent on it. Marijuana has the chemical THC which resembles the one that the brain also produces. The main point of concern is when you use cannabis regularly your brain stops producing its version and gets dependent on THC.
Signs of marijuana addiction
There are many signs of becoming an additive person towards marijuana. Some of the symptoms include feeling irritable or moody, anxious, and not being able to sleep. The obvious indicator that this abuse has turned into addiction is when it’s affecting your professional and personal life, and even then you can’t quit it. Ultimately the depression causes you to self-harm and brings suicidal thoughts.
Many studies reveal the fact that marijuana abuse can trigger suicides and self-harm. Treatments for marijuana abuse and addiction include talk therapy, motivational incentives, and medication.
COVID-19 Sparked Anxiety- Triggering usage of Cannabis All over the USA
The troubled and engrossed state of mind all over the world is pushing people to use cannabis. It enables them to feel relief from anxiety and depression. All over the world, people have lost jobs; countries are on the verge of economic wreckage. America has a very bad example of pandemic suffering. COVID-19 infections are spreading and increasing. According to research, ten million workers lost their means of earning bread and butter. When people assume about the prospects of getting new jobs they find themselves surrounding by gloominess. Until now unfortunately there is no end to this sight. It seems like the world is coming to an end now.
How to lessen anxiety?
Marijuana and anxiety are going hands in hands. Now to relieve anxiety Americans are looking forward to their favored and favorite leaf, marijuana. The only positive thing that has come to witness about a pandemic is the changed perceptions about marijuana. A New Jersey doctor and founder of Doctor THC clinic, Dr. Allan Tiedrich, reported an increase in the issuance of medical cannabis cards via Telehealth Services to reduce the personal visits that might accelerate the spreading of risk of infection. According to a study, 30% of people suffer at the hands of anxiety but as the pandemic hits the percentage has increased to 70%.
An uptick in Anxiety as Pandemic Prevails
As we see coronavirus spreads quickly across America and has left a hole in the budget, every other American is labelled as anxious and nervous. Using cannabis has a stigma and shame but as COVID-19 prevails the secrecy is not important. According to research, it is reported that in March 2020, as coronavirus increased and as the cities were imposed with quarantine there were record-breaking sales of cannabis. The lines were long which led to 23 states marking cannabis as important as bread and milk.
Dr Laren Hightower, reports that since the quarantine started in April, she has witnessed a large increase in the number of patients requesting medical cannabis to help them in relieving pain and majorly from anxiety. It is very clear that the new financial statements from job losses, furloughs, and shifting to work from home can’t lower anxiety levels. Covid’19 cases are increasing daily in at least 40 states.
The role of dispensaries is significant. They remain open in Florida and Arizona as essential businesses. They have experienced extraordinary sales in cannabis which have exceeded pre-pandemic sales clearly.
Anxious Floridians Propel Cannabis Sales
Florida, California, and Oklahoma are few states that allow card-carrying medical cannabis patients to fight anxiety and depression easily. A recent study also reports that there is an increase in Cannabis purchases by 40% during March, April, and May.
Sharkey states that stress levels and mental health levels are extremely high. He also reports that he has spoken to several people who have increased their cannabis use.
ALSO READ:An Overview of Marijuana Laws in Florida
Arizonans and the increasing cannabis use
The Executive Director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association reports that there is an increase of 40% in cannabis sales year over year during the pandemic and they expect it to grow. There are no signs of slowing down. Richard emphasizes that it is not only the quantity and the reason behind their usage indeed it is the way that they are using it up. He also says that pandemic is allowing experimenting to the ones who are quarantined and unemployed. Not only this he also says that if you are consuming a 10mg gummy and now you want to try out a 100mg cookie that might not be a good idea but you can always try because you don’t have to work out for a couple of days.
With the growing usage of cannabis, the world seems to become a peaceful place. Also not to forget that in these unprecedented times the society can have immense benefits from the usage of cannabis. A recent study also reveals that dispensaries report having an increase of 159% in sales in a single day.
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